Students’ thoughts on Ms. Shen’s retirement Reply

While asking students for their thoughts on Ms. Shen’s retirement and reflections on their time being Chinese language students, we collected way more than we could use in any story. Rather than let information go to waste, below is a collection of quotes and thoughts from students. If you want to have your thoughts added to the collection below, please email: AlyLakhaney@gmail.com

Noah Levine, ’09

I took Chinese since the 7th grade and it was always a struggle for me. Ms. Shen would take the initiative to help me anytime, all the time. By 11th grade, Chinese wasn’t getting any easier. But Ms. Shen never gave up on me, even when she wasn’t my language teacher then. She helped me out everyday after school for the upcoming regents. We worked for hours and she was always very patient with me. At the end of it all, I passed the regents thanks to her guidance. I couldn’t have done it without her. I truly appreciate Ms. Shen and what she did for me.

Malorie Mo, ’09

Ms. Shen,

You were a very important BSGE family member to me during my years at the school. I remember meeting you for the first time as my advisor and you welcomed us with such a warm, motherly heart, always taking the time to guide and support us as new students in the school.

A defining trait every staff member at BSGE has is their dedication to the wellbeing of students both inside and outside of school. The care and extra mile every staff member is willing to go for the students is a quality every educator should aspire to have. I firmly believe every public school teacher should learn from each of you at BSGE. We have you and all the other staff members to thank for the success of BSGE and its students.

You took on multiple roles throughout my years at BSGE – as my advisory teacher, my MYP project advisor, language teacher and my personal favorite, a mother to all. Whenever I had problems and came to you for guidance, you never hesitated to take time out of your schedule to comfort me. When I scored a 7 on the IB exam, you were happier than I was and held me in tears – it was all thanks to you, but you thanked me instead. I will never forget that moment when you were more proud of me than my own biological parents. Visiting you at BSGE after I graduated was always bittersweet – always happy to see you but sad that I’m no longer your student.

My years spent at BSGE were among the most challenging years of my academic career (so far) but also the most valuable. You’ve touched my life as an educator, advisor and mother. “Choose the job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” is clearly seen through you. There was never a dull moment in your class and you taught us a lot more than just Chinese. Thank you for being such an important contributor to my life. You will be truly missed in the BSGE family! It was an honor to be your student.

谢谢您做我的中文老师。我从您那里学到的远远不止中文。

Samantha Calpo ’14

As one of the most dedicated and caring teachers I have had in my entire academic career, Ms. Shen and her candor and compassion allowed my entire Chinese class, and even the greater Class of 2014, to come together and combine learning about the Chinese culture with enjoying the work that we did. She never hesitated to provide for us extra help and guidance and, for me, that included educational and personal mentorship that I will long remain appreciative of. It was a privilege and definitely a pleasure to be one of her many students throughout the years, and I wish her the best of luck in her future plans!

Ariel Friedman ’10

I can say with absolute certainty that Ms. Shen changed my life and is pretty much solely responsible for my post-BSGE trajectory. When I first arrived at BSGE and learned I would be taking Chinese, I was horrified. I didn’t have the pleasure of having Ms. Shen as my Chinese teacher straight off the bat but when I finally did, she completely changed my outlook on learning Chinese. Her class came to be something I looked forward to, which is a lot to say for an angsty 16 year old high school student. By the time I graduated, there was no question in my mind that Chinese was something I wanted to continue in college. I tried to fight it (I was supposed to do something practical, like biology!), but by the end of my freshman year, I found myself handing in the form declaring my major as Chinese language and literature. I spent a semester in Beijing, and I wrote an honors thesis where I had to use Chinese academic journals to support my research. After graduation, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I resolved to do whatever it took to get back to China. So here I am! I’ve spent the last year in China, and though I’ll return home at the end of this semester, I know China will always be an important fixture in my life. It’s all because of Ms. Shen. She changed my outlook on Chinese from something difficult and intimidating to something I was able to tame, and basically make my whole life. I don’t know where I’d be today without Ms. Shen, and I know my life is infinitely richer for having had the privilege of being her student.
Erin Camia ’14
I had a hard time wrapping my head around the news because Ms. Shen was such an integral part of my BSGE experience. There were only 20 kids in my Chinese class and she was our teacher for 5 years so she got to know us personally and vice versa. She not only sparked my interest in the language, but the culture of China as well, which is why I’m continuing to take Chinese in college and planning to study abroad.
Ariel Taub ’14
I had Ms. Shen as a teacher for five years. In that time Ms. Shen’s classroom became a sort of home within the school, she knew all of our class so well. But this was a home where I was continuously challenged and often anticipating the next test. I can’t believe how much I learned. I hope Ms Shen has a happy and healthy retirement.
Sarah Diaz ’11
When I think of Ms. Shen, or Shen lao shi, as I know she would appreciate me calling her, I can’t stop the smile that creeps over my face. Her energy permeated every room she entered. You could tell she cared about what she did; she was always anxious to share her culture and especially excited to watch that knowledge sink into young minds. I think very fondly of Ms Shen and often remember what she once said, “Ms Shen is the party, otherwise you just have people sitting around eating and drinking.”
Jonathan Touti ’09

Ms. Shen was more than just a teacher to me. She was a friend. A person you can talk to about anything…I’m happy to hear of her retirement, she’s earned it.

That poor lady had to deal with me for 6 years. Thank you for everything Ms. Shen, your teaching techniques made learning a language as difficult as Chinese a lot easier. You will truly be missed, Bsge won’t be the same place without you.

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